This is the alternative low-level walk that opts to go an easier route up through the valley, skipping the tougher climbs of Red Pike, High Stile and Hay Stacks.
Known as Wainwright’s ‘low route’ which is 2.5km shorter and only 600 metres of ascent, the route takes you along the low-level path that skips walking to the summits of Red Pike, High Stile and the Hay Stacks, if you have nice weather and are feeling energetic we do recommend you take our high route as the views are simply breath-taking - but it should be stressed it is challenging - it is featureless in places, and requires a basic rock scrambling ability; if bad weather is forecast, either low visibility or heavy rain, we recommend taking this low route regardless. A good website to check the forecast is the Mountain Weather Information Service: https://www.mwis.org.uk/forecasts/english-and-welsh/lake-district
The low route takes around 2 hours less and might be preferable if you wish to conserve your energy for future days.
Drop into the Honister Slate Visitor Centre to enter a real mine. There is a small cafe here where you can grab some food and warm drinks.
This safety information is for the low route only.
There are a few stretches where you must walk on the road as there is no pavement or verge. Walk on the right side facing the oncoming traffic unless there is a right-hand turn, in which case you should cross to the outside edge to allow drivers the maximum chance to see you.
There are lots of river crossings in today’s walk. There are always stepping stones available but these may be slippery
Sturdy hiking boots, warm clothes and a waterproof/wind-break layer are all required. The weather can change quickly so be sure to take all equipment even if the weather looks okay. Walking poles will be a big advantage on some of these ascents and descents.
Ensure your phone is fully charged; if you doubt the battery will last throughout the hike, it might be beneficial to bring a power bank.
This walk is isolated with few opportunities to buy food or water so be sure to bring enough with you.
Points of Interest
Honister Slate Visitor’s Centre
Slate mining has been an important industry in this area, dating back to the 1700s, and indeed today you will pass much of the infrastructure including a walk along a disused tramway. To really understand the area and its history you can go into the Honister Slate Visitor’s Centre, which runs daily tours into the mines. If you have enough energy and a head for heights, you can even tackle a via Ferrata (climbing) route to explore the mines. There is also a café where you can get snacks or drink.
More information available here: https://honister.com/
Food and Drink
It is 20 kilometres before you reach the Honister Slate Mine and the attached café which is the first opportunity to get food or drink. There is another café, The Flock In, in Rosthwaite where you finish the trail, and a few pubs/B&B’s which serve evening meals.
It might be beneficial to arrange a packed lunch in Ennerdale.